Electric Personal Flight Suit Startup Faked Their Test Flight Footage

Things are not always as they appear.
Chris Young

An all-electric alternative to the nascent kerosene jetpack technology going viral online in recent months? It sounds almost too good to be true. Sadly, at least when it comes to one recent video showcasing such a technology, it really is.

Reports emerged last month that Australian firm CopterPack had conducted an incredible first flight of an all-electric personal flying device with two large battery-powered turbines. The reports were accompanied by an impressive 69-second clip seemingly showcasing the technology.

Now, as a report by NewAtlas explains, a filmmaker analyzed the footage and they have presented evidence that the video (shown below) was edited to remove a hanging tether wire before it was published online.

A subsequent video released by US-based aerial filmmaker Nick Adams, who goes by the name of Parallax on YouTube, goes into detail on how the video was edited to remove the wire.

Adams was prompted by peers and fans of his to investigate the video, as several points in the original video didn't quite make sense to keen observers. Namely, why is there almost no dust lifted during takeoff? And why does the movement feel a little unnatural at times?

PR stunts are less dangerous than the real thing

Using his video editing know-how, Adams cranked up the sharpness and resolution of CopterPack's video and went through it frame by frame.

In his video (below), he presents evidence that the video was treated using the video equivalent of Photoshop's "clone stamp" tool, which allows users to seamlessly superimpose one part of the image over another and make it look natural.

Since Nick Adams' video went live, CopterPack has edited its website to describe its test as a "tethered test of the prototype," which "enabled evaluation of the flight dynamics and aircraft stabilisation." That is in contrast to the original video, which states "see the amazing first flight of CopterPack!"

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It's a baffling turn of events, seeing as a tethered, or suspended wire, flight test could have been presented to the world as progress towards a true flight test at a later date.

However, at a time when videos such as those of Hunter Kowald's drone "hoverboard," and Gravity Industry's kerosene-burning jetpack are going viral online and garnering massive amounts of attention, it seems like CopterPack made a premeditated PR move aimed at drawing attention to their company.

We reached out to CopterPack for comment and will update the article if and when we hear back.

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